Eric Ehst, Executive Director
January 25 is celebrated as “Opposite Day,” one day where every statement has the opposite meaning to what is actually said and every action has the opposite result of what is intended. This is a fun game for young children; as in when you say, “Go to bed!” they hear, “Stay up as long as you want!” But think about the chaos and misery that would ensue if we really applied Opposite Day to real life.
At Neighbors Who Care our volunteers provide small but vitally important services to our frail, homebound and disabled neighbors that enable them to live independently in their own homes. If there really was an alternate universe of Opposite Day, we wouldn’t exist. There would be no friendly volunteers to help our 1400 neighbor/clients with their everyday needs. Verna wouldn’t be driving Claire to her lifesaving dialysis treatment. Jim wouldn’t be available to take a van load of neighbors who can no longer drive to get groceries. Rita wouldn’t be picking up Sam’s prescription heart medication. Barbara wouldn’t be helping Elizabeth balance her checkbook. Adriane wouldn’t be delivering hot dinners to six hungry community members. Dick wouldn’t be watching over George while his caregiver wife goes to her own medical appointment. Bruce wouldn’t be at Diane’s house changing the light bulb she can no longer reach. Grace wouldn’t be phoning 10 homebound people who live alone every day to make sure they’re okay. Bonnie wouldn’t be checking on Henry who just got out of the hospital after major surgery.
Even worse, in this alternate reality nobody would care about the less fortunate in our own community. Our frail and homebound neighbors, who could be us with just a little bad luck or a few more years, would be left to fend for themselves. The only help available would be 911. The only alternative would be a nursing home or assisted living facility, which many cannot afford, or a spare room in a child’s home, far from friends and familiarity.
Our community is uniquely blessed that we don’t live in that reality. Neighbors Who Care exists. Our 500 caring volunteers insure that their neighbors can live their lives with dignity. What’s more, we’re taking the lead in advancing the concept of community support for aging into the 21st century. The “silver tsunami” of retiring baby-boomers will challenge our capacity and require new types of support. We’re leading the way with innovative programs to provide support to frail seniors discharged from hospitals and rehab centers and recreational therapy programs to meet clients’ social, psychological, and spiritual needs.
The only piece missing is you. We need you to join with your 500 friends and neighbors and volunteer to help out. Volunteering is as simple as driving a car or making a phone call. Or you can get creative and help us lead the way into the future. The choice is yours. Contact us at 480-895-7133, www.neighborswhocare.com.